`Southend’s rainbow coalition will scrap Tory schemes including the seawall` screamed the Echo last week.
According to the article the new coalition (interesting that they used a photo of Ron Woodley that is over a year old nearly! Are there no recent ones, surely they must have some good ones of his childish outbursts in the Chamber?) will remove the Seawall plan (despite the fact that some councillors have come out in support of the plan in that Coalition – those that have, are not necessarily happy with the process though) and scrap changes to the Library services and care homes.
Fantastic, real change for Southend’s electorate and a result for the residents. Well done to the coalition!!!
BUT WAIT ….
I freely admit to not being fully aware of the machinations of local councils but I thought the library cuts and care home closures had been voted through and agreed in this year’s budget? If that is true, then they will still happen and the coalition council wont be able to change it this year will it? If they can, will it not prove a expensive business as surely the plans have already been put in place as a result of the budget vote? For example I know that a contract for a local group to voluntarily run Southchurch Library has already gone out, I may be wrong and please comment if I am.
Of course they could reverse these decisions in next years budgets but again there will be great cost involved in this. So apart from the Seawall then these decisions can’t be replaced.
And of course for some of the Independent Party members it would be highly hypocritical of them to change these things as they voted (councillors Stafford, Woodley, Van Looey particularly come to mind) for the budget that these cuts were contained in.
Do they really think Southend residents have that short a memory?
So it looks like the next makeup of the council will be Independent/lab/lib which is not necessarily a bad make up. I fear that this will create a lot of unease especially considering the unease between Lab and Lib Dems in southend and Lib Dems and Independents. The Lib Dems abstained last year on a couple of crucial votes which then meant it was easier for the Conservatives. Whilst the Indies and Labour have been comfortable working together and so should be able to do so again it will be interesting to see how a coalition with the Lib Dems will succeed. However the biggest winners out of this mix up will be UKIP.
All three main parties have ruled out working with UKIP for at least a year and this will be their greatest triumph. The Independent/lab/lib coalition will raise council taxes and still have to impose heavy cuts as the hardest rounds of cuts will have to come into force this year. The electorate will hate this. The independents in particular have been voted in on promises of saving the library etc etc. This will be financially unfeasible. They will of course blame the previous Conservative administration and Conservative government and amongst their own voters this will keep their support. However, sitting on the edge UKIP will turn round and say `well they wouldnt work with us` (no doubt a small part of their voters was down to the harrassment they recieved from the MSM) and get a little of the sympathy vote. But more importantly they will be able to say, `well we weren’t the ones who introduced x y and z and who raised council tax. Lab/Lib/Independents (i am assuming after their success that they will no longer see the need for the electoral pact which always struck me as one sided against UKIP anyway) will be tainted and the Conservatives are a dying force anyway. UKIP will gain more and more councillors as a result.
Let me be very clear, I find UKIP abhorrent, unfortunately I suspect they will benefit from what is happening.